During a recent Continuing Education (CE) Workshop hosted by The Hagin School Consultation Center, Fordham Graduate School of Education assistant professor of school psychology Tamique Ridgard Peters, Ph.D., presented on “Integrating Parents into Children’s Anxiety Treatment.”
Ridgard Peters emphasized that engaging families in their children’s anxiety treatment is highly important, especially because of the interpersonal nature of childhood anxiety. Anxiety is genetic, and caregivers may be overly involved, overprotective, and/or provide accommodations to help their children avoid anxious feelings.
This recent workshop centered on best practices for psychologists to refocus parental involvement and work together with parents to productively to support their children. Ridgard Peters presented a four-pronged approach to creating a foundation for engaging families:
- Reflect on your approach.
- Establish a partnership.
- Build rapport.
- Address potential barriers.
Specific guidelines for building a relationship with parents include ensuring that parents know they are viewed as equals, clearly defining roles, creating mutual goals, prioritizing communication, sharing decision making, and jointly solving problems.
To ease the burden on caregivers who are providing accommodations, psychologists can clearly define the accommodations, identify accommodations caregivers are providing throughout the day, choose a target accommodation to address first, make a detailed plan, keep the child informed, and then repeat the process by choosing and targeting a new accommodation to mitigate.
Potential barriers to working productively with families include logistical barriers, differing views of the child’s difficulties, and contrasting ideas about what treatment should look like.
The Hagin School Consultation Center is associated with the Division of Psychological and Educational Services of Fordham’s Graduate School of Education. The center serves as a training facility for students in the school psychology and counseling psychology programs. Please find additional details about the center here.
To learn more about Tamique Ridgard Peters, Ph.D.’s research interests and publications, please visit her faculty profile page.